The Story Before Sunrise

Reza Deghati shoots in the morning.

The French Iranian-born photojournalist goes out before sunrise.

The main characteristic of people in this profession, says the self-taught photojournalist, is the sense of observation. And Reza, who goes by his first name, has been observing for 30 years.

His archives hold some million and a half photos. Many have filled pages of Newsweek or Time, the cover of National Geographic. And they tell stories of women in Saudi Arabia, fighters in Kurdistan, refugee camps in Rwanda, opium fields in Afghanistan.

These stories could be told at other hours of the day. Why go out before dawn, a time many sleep through or stumble through?

“You see little by little how everything is waking up—everything is blooming,” Reza told National Geographic. “You have seen [people] growing.”

When time finds us stuck in frustration or despair, there is always growth in the early morning.

The growth of beginning again with yesterday’s wisdom in our backpack. The bloom of waking up, opening up, showing up to the day. The quiet connection of knowing a small group of others are rolling out of their sheets now, too. The knowledge – which is easy to miss in the noise of daylight hours – that today, little by little or, perhaps, lot by lot, our life will grow bigger.

It’s a story for us to observe. A story for us to tell. It’s the story before sunrise.

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